Residents of a nursing home in Beijing are enjoying spring weather in a new, healthier way this year, thanks to a student club at Western Academy of Beijing.
If you paid a visit to Pang Ge Zhuang Nursing Home today, you'd find senior citizens with dementia outside enjoying brand new fitness equipment and playing traditional Chinese board games. The new additions are the result of years of work from a student-led service club called Acts for Alzheimer (A4A).
"Before, seniors had only limited interactions with others as they generally stayed in their own rooms," Pang Ge Zhuang's facility manager said. "Now, thanks to the club's donations, a growing number of seniors are going outside to not only stroll the gardens but also use the equipment to exercise and play. They are interacting with each other a lot more, which is especially meaningful since it can help prevent the progression of dementia."
Members of A4A spent three years hosting bake sales on campus to raise money for the equipment. The students have also hosted workshops at WAB's annual Global Issues Conference to raise awareness among their peers, visited the nursing home to spend time with the patients, and researched ways in which their club could make the most positive impact.
"The most meaningful aspect of our donation was that we did not just give the facility money, but gave them something tangible that the residents truly need," Min Song, the Grade 12 student leader of A4A, said. "The process was challenging – a long, three-year commitment. But when we ultimately saw the seniors smiling as they used the equipment, the pride that we felt was overwhelming."
With the majority of the club's members graduating from WAB this year, A4A is setting the stage for a new generation to continue making a difference with compassion and kindness. For Min and the members of A4A, community service is not a one-time event, but a way to help many individuals through small acts that add up to have a big impact on society.
The Acts for Alzheimer Club is one of WAB's more than 60 on-going student-led service projects. Learn more ways that WAB is making a difference in communities near and far.